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The future of LISM based on your feedback (2 of 2)

Topic / Blogging

Your questions, my answersYesterday I posted the general results from the survey I did of this site’s readership, which was really helpful in sharpening the focus of this site for 2010. However, almost everyone left comments and questions in the survey, too.

Since the survey was anonymous, I have no way of responding directly to people, let alone knowing who they are. Here are a couple questions and feedback that was asked by several people and my answers. NOTE: I edited and summarized a lot of this feedback for the sake of brevity.)

I’d like to see more product reviews. We know what saves a young person, but what is the right camera to buy? What is the right program or mac to purchase? This is something that would be helpful and also a good use of God’s money.

While I’m glad to hear you’re like me and like to research products before you buy them, I doubt this will be an area I’ll dive into anytime soon. I’m happy to mention the electronics I’ve purchased for my ministry and make recommendations accordingly, but there are many other websites that do a much better job of offering reviews and advice in this area than I can. I usually use sites like Amazon.com and Epinions.com to check out user-reviews of products.

Of course, you can always ask for recommendations and input on a product at MinistryQuestions.com before you buy something, too. There’s usually a youth worker or two out there who can give great advice on just about anything.

Please carefully proofread your writing. I think the frequent errors detract from the professionalism that you promote otherwise.

YES! I know! It bugs me, too! lol I type about 87 words per minute, but that’s still not fast enough to keep up with my thought process. I notice I often skip entire words as I type because my mind is already several words ahead of what I’m typing. Thanks for this reminder, though. I do need to do this more.

Unfortunately, I’ve watched very few of your videos. When I skim through my emails, I can read text very quickly. When I encounter a video, I don’t know how much time you’ll be taking away from me. If I can’t tell how long the video it, I’ll just skip it.

Great input! Just thought I’d point out that you can see how long each video is ahead of time by looking at the bottom-right corner of the YouTube video. The time duration is there. Hope that helps!

I listened to one episode of ministryquestions.com and I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t very impressed. A significant chunk of the time was taken up by introductions. I suppose that makes sense at the moment but it is tedious and unnecessary for the archive version.

Hmm… yeah, that makes sense. The reason I include the introductions is because I like LIVE YM Talk to be a place where youth leaders can connect with each other, even if it’s just by knowing someone’s name and having a frame of reference for their input throughout the recorded discussion.

I’m interested to hear what everyone else thinks about this. QUESTION: Should I include introductions in the podcast recording of LIVE YM Talk or not?

I’ll admit, the current website/theme is getting a bit old and is appearing “stale.” All my love to you, but after seeing some of your videos, video bumpers, etc. maybe an upgrade is in order?

I definitely agree. I’ve been discontent with it for a long time now. Since this site has kinda evolved on me, a lot of it needs to change. For example, when I made the logo of me in the goofy pose with the yellow lei around my hat, I just thought it was funny and didn’t expect too may other people to visit the site and see it. But now I know the branding of this site is very inconsistent and the design, while functional, is cluttered and busy.

None of the premium pay-for themes out there really fit what I have in mind, so just last week I finally finished saving up enough cash for a custom design and mailed in a check for the first deposit to a designer I hired. Within the next month or two, LISM will undergo the second phase of my site’s relaunch with new a new design and branding. (The first phase was moving to StudentMinistry.org, the final phase will be to upgrade some things with the videos and LIVE YM Talk recordings, but it all costs money, so it’ll take a while.)

Maybe giving away free tech gear, iPhones, or Wii’s? ;)

If someone wants to donate some gear to give away on my site, I’m totally up for that! In the meantime, I’ve showed you how to get those items and more for free, just like I have multiple times.

I appreciate not having to sort through the ads.

Yeah, this is a delicate balance. On one hand, I need to generate an income through the site so I can not only maintain it, but also improve it and upgrade it to keep up with growth. Plus, I love launching new projects like MinistryQuestions.com, which was not only costly to pull off, but is spendy to keep online due to the integrated video recording and streaming. It’s not even close to supporting itself, so I keep it online and maintained with the surplus funds from LISM advertising revenues.

But I also am firmly in your camp where I hate lots of advertising on a site. It annoys me to no end when I see it on other websites. I hate having to sift through the ads to find the content I want. Often I just leave a site altogether and never bother with it again if it’s cluttered with ads. While it’s necessary that this site generates an income, I plan on experimenting with fewer ads and charging more for them when the new design launches in a month or two. Not sure if that’ll work or not, but it’s worth a shot.

I really liked your “big rocks” video post. I have thought of four or five similar videos I would like to make but just haven’t had the time. Do you plan on adding more of these maybe for a small fee or even for free?

Yeah, the “big rocks” video was fun to do! It’s the only video I’ve done like that and, while it’s cool and all, personally I enjoy talking with other youth workers even more. As I mentioned yesterday, the tagline for LISM is, “Conversations among those who are passionate for teenagers.” The interview/discussion format of my videos is more enjoyable for me and fits the direction I’m going with this site better than the inspirational reminders. That said, however, I’m sure I’ll end up doing more videos like “big rocks” again in the future, because they still are fun to do from time to time.

Sometimes when I ask a question on MinistryQuestions.com, after a few answers come in, I’d like the chance to interact with the answers, which I don’t believe is possible right now.

I’ve wrestled back and forth with this question a lot. On one hand, I really do value the interaction and dialog that can take place from something like that, but on the other hand, I don’t want MinistryQuestions.com to just turn into another youth ministry forum. I want MQ to be distinctly unique. Sometime in the future I may pay the developers to build a feature that lets the question owner ask only one follow-up question to each response, but for now the best solution is to send a private message to the person who answered your question, as I talked about on the MinistryQuestions.com blog.

I don’t have the time to listen to all of the podcasts, but there are often topics discussed that I would love to learn more about. Is there anyway to get a text copy of the conversation or a summary of them?

Many people ask for this and, unfortunately, there is no easy way to do it at this point. Transcribing the each conversation would take hours and hours and does not sound even remotely fun. Maybe there’s someone else who would be up for doing that, or even writing a solid summary post about the discussion, but it’s definitely not me. Sorry! There may be some services out there that could do it, but I haven’t looked into them. My guess is that they won’t be too accurate with transcribing anyway.

Anyone else up for doing it?

Other general comments

Technology posts: There were a lot of comments about how you appreciate the articles about using technology in youth ministry, which makes sense, I guess — if you subscribe to a blog you’re probably more technologically inclined and interested about those kinds of things. Since I also enjoy technology, I don’t think writing more about this will be a problem. :)

My transparency: There were also many comments about how you all appreciate my transparency and authenticity on the site. Personally, I don’t think I’m being transparent enough! In 2010 I’m looking forward to sharing even more about my own life and ministry, lessons I’m learning and struggling through.

Networking with LISM readers: Another popular request was something I had never thought of before: a map of the US for LISM readers to use to find other LISM readers in their area. Apparently a lot of you want to connect with other readers of this site on a more personal level than what MinistryQuestions.com or LIVE YM Talk can provide. My initial thought is to refer you all to the National Network of Youth Ministers. They do an excellent job at forming local youth pastor networks and connecting youth workers together in face-to-face communities. But for those who want to connect specifically with other LISM readers, let me give more thought to that and see where it goes. Good idea!

QUESTION: How many other people would be interested in a LISM networking too like this?


Posted on January 20, 2010

  • Thanks! Let me be another voice of appreciation for the low number of ads. They are necessary for maintaining this great site, but you don't go overboard. It also shows that your heart is in the right place, too.

    I'd be up for networking, but I agree that there are already networks in most communities, most of whom can be found through the National Network of Youth Ministers site you referenced. It was great to know when I moved to Utah this summer that a network was already in place here. I think any LISM events would need to have a unique angle or purpose (perhaps related to your great mentoring program?); otherwise you might be duplicating efforts. Just my two cents.

    • Appreciate the second vote for low number of ads!

      And BTW, I have NO intention of starting events or anything like that. It doesn't even sound appealing to me nor fun. It would be something that allows you guys to connect in-person if you want to, that's all. But like we both mentioned, I feel like it would be somewhat duplicating the efforts of NNYM except that this would be solely LISM readers (which, I'm not sure why that's important, to be honest).

  • Gerald

    QUESTION: How many other people would be interested in a LISM networking too like this?

    That would be awesome imo!

    QUESTION: Should I include introductions in the podcast recording of LIVE YM Talk or not?

    Toughy. I just simply forward through the intros, cuz they do seem to take some 5-10 minutes of the beginning of some of the podcasts. I listen mostly in the gym, so I'm ready to get into the meat of the topics while working out, not listening to who's on, etc. I understand it comepltely for the live callers/viewers.

    "My transparency"

    This is one my fav things about you. And I agree, I also need to be way more transparent in my own dealings with people and my ministry. Looking forward to learning more about you Tim.

    • Great feedback, Gerald! I'll probably start cutting the introductions out of the recording or just make them super-quick so you have an idea of who's there without spending 5-10 minutes on it.

      Good input!

  • Ben Read

    Random, but Ive found myself multiple times wishing I could partake in a debate on ministryquestions.com but its closed. No real point to having to post in a debate already closed, or answer a question closed, but I guess Ive always wondered why the set amount of time to respond, and why a week?

    But I love the sites, great community of Youth Pastors. Thanks so much for everything you do.

    • In a forum, old threads can be resurrected by a new post, but since we don't want the site to become just like another forum, we've opted for questions and debates to be time-sensitive. Rather than having long threads on the same topic that go back and forth, we want to help users get quick answers and then have a sense of closure.

  • Ben Read

    also random, but is 1 month the max amount of time listed for how old a debate/question/answer is? Im scrolling through archives right now and literally everything happened a month ago haha. Maybe my computer is just bugging out?

    • Oh yeah, you're right. That's gotta be a bug. We'll look into it. Thanks.

  • Just wanted to tell you that your page is not showing up properly on the BlackBerry Browser. Anyway, I have subscribed to your RSS feed. =)

  • Pingback: Why it's important to connect with local youth pastors | Life in Student Ministry()

  • Looks like you have done something about showing your website in blackberry.

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